When Gold Plates were paper
plates scored and bound with glue,
reformed Egyptian proudly made
the tease to prospective readers.
The stick of Joseph could jewel a pocket
or a homemade shelf
in a 1970s family room.

The spangled plates were lit
by the sun of righteousness doing
its sundial dance across the shelf,
landing on a pile of vinyl
records. Here
the plates from Ephraim’s hand
rested on stained wooden planks,
in a cavity,
supported by decorative cinder blocks.
The family’s keystone
chilled against the musical sherbet
of Beach Boys lounging on
the Bee Gees crooning through
the nose, draping over
Bill Conti’s black and white
Rocky soundtrack.

Image of a pile of old vinyl records and cassettes

As baby boomer parents awaited
Reagan and the Millennium,
their newlywed LPs became sediment
beneath a Smurfs album,
beneath Hooked on Classics,
beneath 8-track strata. Yet,
the Gold paper Plates never slipped
away beneath the family surface.
Even when cassettes were hid up
in a snap case, tucked deeper
into the closet with each spring
cleaning, the plates remained to witness
the rise of CDs.

for millennial grandkids,
the book sits atop the shelf—
a little yellower … a bit more golden.
But what of its message?
In the streaming chaos
before Christ’s Second Coming,
may a family snack on their year’s
supply of canned stew and peaches,
while relishing a Columbus cameo
like an LP cover?
Can they cheer the Nephite warrior
coming home to What’s-Her-Name-iah,
like Rocky to Adrian? Do charismatic
Ammon and Abinadi still work
a king’s court better than white-
clad Travolta lording the disco floor?
Following paper’s suit,
do e-reader editions
reveal the “Fate of Indians”?
2500 years before
a 70s family erected their shelf,
did Nephi see vinyl
in his American vision?

Poet’s Notes:

Thank you for reading! Next, I invite you to read my poem The Owl and the Judas.

Image of gold cover edition of The Book of Mormon by Jake Christensen

Secondary image of vinyl records and cassettes by vesmil.